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Earthquakes: City authorities begin survey to identify high-risk buildings in Sylhet

  • Published at 07:20 pm June 10th, 2021
Experts from Shahjalal University of Science & Technology (SUST) and Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) visiting a high risk building on Thursday, June 10, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

Experts from SUST will conduct the survey

The Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) on Thursday launched a survey to identify risky buildings in the city following a spate of recent earthquakes that created panic among local residents.

Experts from the Civil & Environmental Engineering (CEE) Department and the Petroleum and Mining Engineering (PME) Department of Shahjalal University of Science & Technology (SUST) visited seven high risk buildings, including six markets and one hotel on the first day of the survey.

Sources at the SCC said all buildings in the city would be taken under the purview of the survey in phases.

A team led by CEE Prof Zaheer Bin Alam examined Raja Mansion, Surma Market and Hotel Ajmeer in the morning.

Later in the afternoon, another team led by Faculty of Applied Sciences and Technology Dean Dr Mustaq Ahmed visited four more markets. The markets are Madhuban Market, Cooperative Building, Mitali Mansion and City Super Market.

During the visit, Prof Mustaq Ahmed said It would take some time to complete the survey. However, they will submit the survey report to the SCC as soon as possible.

Also Read - Sylhet school building damaged in earthquake abandoned

Rajiuddin, an assistant engineer at the SCC, said the markets were closed after the May 30 earthquake. That is why these buildings were being surveyed on an emergency basis. After the survey, Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury will hold another meeting with experts to decide on the next course of action.

SCC Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury said a memorandum of understanding between SCC and SUST would be signed soon to survey all buildings in the city in phases. 

On Wednesday, SUST and SCC pledged to work together to identify high risk buildings in the city. 

Sylhet is located in the plate boundary area near the Dawki Fault, which is a thrust fault with a strike slip component linking the Sylhet Trough and the Shillong Plateau.

On May 29, the first tremor of magnitude 3 on the Richter scale was felt at 10:36am, followed by the aftershocks of 4.1 magnitude at 10:50am, 2.8 magnitude at 11:30am and 4 magnitude at 1:58pm. Two buildings tilted in the city but no casualties were reported.

The next day, another tremor of magnitude 2.8 jolted Sylhet city.

Later, the Sylhet City Corporation (SCC) authorities carried out an inspection and shut down 25 at-risk residential buildings and markets of the city for 10 days.

The successive earthquakes have spread panic among locals, who are worried about a potential major quake occurring sometime. Many people living in high-rise buildings have left the city for their village homes.